Oregon, OH Porcupine

Identification

Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), sometimes called “porkies” or “quill pigs,” are heavy-bodied, short-legged, slow, and awkward rodents, with a waddling gait. Adults are typically 25 to 30 inches (64 to 76 cm) long and weigh 10 to 30 pounds (4.5 to 13.5 kg). They rely on their sharp, barbed quills (up to 30,000 per individual) for defense.

 

Range and Habitat

The porcupine is a common resident of the coniferous forests of western and northern North America. It wanders widely and is found from cottonwood stands along prairie river bottoms and deserts to alpine tundra. They favor caves, rock slides, and thick timber downfalls for shelter.

 

Fun Facts

Young porcupines are capable of eating vegetation within a week after birth, but they generally stay with the female through the summer. Juvenile survival rates are high.

Predators of porcupines include coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, fishers, martens, great horned owls, and others.

 

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion
Fences (small areas). Tree trunk guards.

Cultural Methods
Encourage closed-canopy forest stands.

Repellants
None are registered. Some wood preservatives may incidentally repel porcupines.

Toxicants
None are registered.

Fumigants

None are registered.

Trapping
Steel leghold trap (No. 2 or 3). Body-gripping (Conibear®) trap (No. 220 or 330). Box trap.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).

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